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|Election: Pro-gay Ga. congressmen likely face easy reelection|
|by Matt Schafer|
|October 29, 2010 00:00|
Although Nov. 2 is expected to be a strong day for Republican congressional candidates, Atlanta Democratic Reps. John Lewis and Hank Johnson are expected to win by significant margins.
Dr. Charles Bullock, a political scientist at the University of Georgia in Athens, had a one word answer when asked if Lewis or Johnson were at risk of losing their seats in Congress.
“No,” Bullock said. “Those are very, very safe districts. John Lewis is an icon. If those two lose it would be a tsunami of biblical proportions.”
Fenn Little, an attorney who represented the family of Kathryn Johnston who was shot by the Atlanta Police Department during a botched and illegal drug raid, is challenging Lewis in the Fifth District. Little has been written about Little — a recent search of Google News didn’t return a single story with his name in it.
According to Federal Election Commission filings, Little had raised $59,000 by the end of September compared to Lewis’ war chest of $910,000. Lewis still had $300,000 on hand going into the last days of the election while Little had $17,000.
Republican Liz Carter is running against Johnson in the Fourth Congressional District and has run a more competitive campaign than Little, but Johnson still held a 5-to-1 fundraising edge by the end of September. Carter had raised $95,000, most of it from individual donations. Political Action Committees contributed $357,000 of Johnson’s $537,000 total.
Having heavily Democratic districts has allowed Johnson and Lewis to become advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues in the House of Representatives.
The Human Rights Campaign has scored Lewis as 100 percent on the last four Congressional scorecards while Johnson has scored a 95 on the only scorecard available since he entered office in 2006.
Tim Cairl, chair of Atlanta Stonewall Democrats, said he’s pleased with Lewis and Johnson.
“Lewis… he’s always been out there. If you watch him at Atlanta Pride you can literally see the physical change come over him,” Cairl said. “He’s what — 70? As soon as the parade starts he is running down the parade route like a teenager shaking hands and talking with people. He’s been around a long time and doesn’t have to carry the fight and he still does.”
Cairl has worked with Johnson since he was a DeKalb County commissioner and is pleased with his record on LGBT issues.
“Whenever Hank was asked to do anything, he said, ‘Sure,’” Cairl said. “He always shows up and he always does what he says he’s going to do.”
Carter said that she doesn’t believe in discrimination, opposes “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” supports civil unions, but thinks the Employment Non-Discrimination Act goes a bit too far.
“I have a couple of people who still beat me up about and tell them to get over it,” Carter said. “I have stood where I have been since day one.”
Carter is endorsed by the Georgia Log Cabin Republicans, its first federal endorsement.
“There are new voices in the Republican Party including Liz Carter. This is the first federal election the Georgia Log Cabin Republicans have endorsed and it’s significant, an amazing endoresment,” said LCR member Jamie Ensley.
Little could not be reached for comment.
Top photo (from left): John Lewis (official photo), Hank Johnson (official photo), Fenn Little (via Facebook), Liz Carter (via Facebook)
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